Anchored Down At Anchor Point

I've nestled in quite nicely here in the fishing village of Taghazout. These days, perhaps 'surfing village' is a better characterization. Surfers are everywhere, locals and visitors alike. The village reminds me of Puerto Escondido back in the early '80s, already bustling with a mixture of old culture charm and youth-oriented surf stoke. Like Puerto, my gut tells me things will only get busier here.

Conservatively there are roughly 15 distinct surf spots within a 10-kilometer span of coastline on each side of Taghazout. Their respective quality runs from soft beginner peaks and beachbreaks through to grinding advanced reefs and points. Something for all.

From my narrow experience here (four days), I see that most of the visiting surfers are of the beginner or intermediate level. This is good news because lineups at the spots within walking distance of Taghazout are speckled with bobbing surfers, the majority of which aren't really sure what they are doing.

From my vantage at L'Auberge (a homey inn run by a British lad named Ollie and his pretty sister Joe), I watch semi-walled up rights peel through at Hash Point. The bigger it gets, the better the form. To the left is another sectiony, soft wall called Panoramas. To the right are various peaks of decent quality leading up to the highlight and focus of Taghazout surfing: Anchor Point.

Anchor Point is a surf spot with a capital "S". Although I've yet to surf it (my back is still shot), a few days ago I drooled over it. Long, walled intermediate-period swells of the 6-foot variety raked the quarter-mile point. On the outside indicator, peaky, powerful waves were on offer. Further into the point, the swells lined up on the sandbar and grinded through. Hollow. Dredging. Fast. Similarities to the Superbank could be made without risk of hyperbole—but not as long, or as warm. At the northern fringe of Taghazout, Anchor Point is where the locals surf, and they generally dominate the outside peak—as it should be. This is their home. Any surfer with a bit of travel savvy can find plenty of waves at Anchor Point and beyond, with or without locals.

My experience with the locals has only been positive, in the water and out. Aziz, a bearded (sans mustache) bodyboarder with broad, bear-like shoulders, bellowed out the universal hoot of stoke as I dodged a tube in favor of completing the ride. He thought I was going to pull in. Damn. We communicate with smiles, broken verbal darts and hand gestures. A few days later I see Aziz at Anchor Point. He waves and rolls past. I meet others: Kareem, Najib, Rasheed, and Mohamed.

Mohamed owns the Al Mughar surf shop. He tells me "Al Mughar" means "the meeting place." It is true. Like all surf shops, hanging out is part and parcel with the territory. Here the local scene: who got the wave of the day, who is ripping, who is injured (me), who is in the village, who was dodging tubes prior to being injured (again, me), who has left the village, all the daily surf culture is dispensed. Surf shops world wide, true surf shops, remain the international heart valve of surf culture. The beat here at Al Mughar in Taghazout is strong and healthy, and the blood of surf stoke flows freely.